Blackberry Mountain
Not much can beat a fresh out of the oven, fluffy biscuit topped with homemade apple butter.  For a while I got my fix of this delight each time I dined out at Cracker Barrel but when I married and moved into a house where I had my own kitchen I decided it was time to start making my own.  I began with frozen biscuits and bought a jar of my favorite apple butter--together they made it almost like I was at the restaurant but as time went on and my passion for cooking grew I decided NO MORE STORE BOUGHT BISCUITS and so I began trying out biscuit recipes on my self and my husband and many guests--thus the beginning of the biscuit experiment.  I have not bought biscuits since then and I am still on the quest to find the perfect biscuit.  I have found a few that qualify so any chance I get to add a side to a meal, I pull out the flour and, of course, the buttermilk and see what I can create. 

Cooking is my favorite past time, if you can call it that, and I really enjoy creating my own ingredients and cooking from scratch.  So, the quest to find the perfect biscuit has become quite fun.  The best things about biscuits is that, for the most part, they have few ingredients, are easy for beginners and they still pose fun challenges for the experienced.    

When deciding the type of biscuit I wanted to create I thought of typical biscuit comparisons: crisp outside or soft all the way through; butter or plain; fluffy, crumbly, or flaky; shape;  size; milk or buttermilk.  I chose my favorites out of the list and decided that I desired to find a fluffy, buttermilk, large, bulky biscuit with a touch of butter. 

Here are a few tips I learned along the way:

-Self-rising or all purpose flour do make a difference but self-rising is more convenient.  All purpose allows for more baking powder and more airy biscuits.

-Crusty outsides with a soft inside comes from cooking biscuits with space in between them verses being cooked while touching.  Crisper biscuits are delicious but they do not keep well.

-Buttermilk adds a very rich flavor.

-The less you work the dough, the better.

-The colder the ingredients (ex: shortening, milk, butter, mayo, etc.) while preparing, the better the final product will be.

I am always trying new recipes and testing on Jeremy, my husband and best critic, but do give my favoritism to a specific recipe using buttermilk and mayonnaise not requiring a rolling pin or too much effort.  I"ll share that recipe in this week's "From the Kitchen" section. 

It's neat how you can learn so much from cooking and I don't just mean about the food.  The Biscuit Experiment proves that there are many options we face and choices we'll make.  We don't always make the best ones and sometimes we fail but even in our failures we can use the results--I feed leftovers or mess-ups to the chickens and they never complain.  When we have results in life that we aren't please with we can use that opportunity to learn, to make different decisions next time round and before you know it, the results will be very rich and rewarding.  But always remember that even the most experienced can fail.  We just have to learn and try again.  Just remember what ingredient to try differently next time.